Nearly a 1,000 technologists across North America will be headed to Knoxville, Tennessee, on May 5-6 for Codestock, an annual technology conference for developers, IT professionals and entrepreneurs. This year, the entire Knoxville Convention Center has been booked for this much-loved weekend event, which is in stark contrast to the classrooms in Pellissippi State Technical Community College that they used to hold the first Codestock 10 years ago. Since their first conference that brought together 125 local IT professionals, the scale of the event and the planning that goes with it have certainly changed. For instance, the number of speakers alone nearly matches the original number of attendees. But year after year, the organizers have been able to preserve that sense of intimacy and community. And more people keep coming back, all while finding first-time attendees.
“Knoxville has a welcoming community full of developers who are eager to help with other’s success,” says Andrew May, one of the Codestock board members. “The atmosphere they create is the reason we have lasted for over 10 years!” Having moved from Arizona to Knoxville in 2006, May has experienced firsthand the welcoming developer community in east Tennessee. His first Codestock experience was in 2011, when he was asked to be a speaker and a volunteer. “From there, my involvement grew and I was happy to help with the growth of CodeStock and give back to our community.” (Fun Fact: May was an offensive lineman and a computer engineering major at Arizona State.)
Brad Miller, a Knoxville native, was invited by May to help with Codestock in 2015 and have since joined the organizing board to oversee communication and sponsorships. “It’s an amazing community, and I love being involved,” says Miller, who left Tennessee to attend college but was compelled to be back in his hometown. “It’s an amazing place to raise a family and with the developer community we have here, I don’t have a reason to leave.” May and Miller are partners at CodeTank Labs, a dev agency that have grown to do $1M ARR since its founding in 2015. Don Den Uyl II, director of product development at PerfectServe, is also part of the organizing board.
May says that the evolution of the Knoxville developer community never ceases to amaze him with their growth and willingness to lend a hand, and perhaps the new addition to the conference programming is one evidence of such. This year, Codestock Academy, an all-day code camp for high school students, will take place on Saturday. The conference partnered with Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and CodeTN to build a curriculum that will involves a morning of learning (at various levels of experience) and an afternoon of hands-on experiences with VR and AR tools.
The keynote speaker for Codestock 2017 is Hadi Hariri, VP of developer advocacy at JetBrains. Tickets for both Codestock and Codestock Academy are still available, and for the level of programming they pack in two days (100+ sessions!), the organizers have been committed to keep the ticket prices as low as possible. May is incredibly is excited to welcome back both old friends and new to Codestock next week. “It’s been ten years of excellent growth, networking, and technology. It’s the perfect place for developers to further their skills!”
Startup Southerner is proud to be a media partner with Codestock. We will be in Knoxville for the conference, so be sure to find us and get a sticker!